Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Tesla Model S review - Reliability and safety

The Model S’s Euro NCAP safety scores are first-rate and build quality has improved, but it’s got a ways to go

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Reliability and Safety Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£93,480 to £113,480
Find your Tesla Model S
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Hassle-free way to a brand new car
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

The Model S has been crash-tested by industry experts Euro NCAP twice: once in 2014, then again in 2022, and received the maximum five-star safety rating both times. Following the most recent round of testing, the Model S scored a 94 per cent for the adult occupant protection, 91 per cent for child occupant protection and a near-flawless 98 per cent in the safety assistance technology category.

Advertisement - Article continues below

While Tesla has weathered various media storms around its Autopilot system, which has been implicated in a handful of serious accidents sometimes attributed to driver inattention, it's still one of the smoothest and most advanced set-ups of its type.

Build quality was previously one of the Model S’s biggest failings, but the updated model has made some big steps in the right direction, particularly in the cabin. However, some of the external panel gaps on the Model S we drove were quite large, so there's still work to be done.

Tesla is also committed to continually updating the software installed on all its vehicles. As well as routinely upgrading the performance of autonomous driving and safety systems, it’s also possible to effect ‘repairs’ over the air. For example in mid-2017, Tesla issued an over-the-air fix for a potential airbag fault, which would otherwise have prompted a nationwide recall notice.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The Tesla Model S didn’t make it onto our list of the best cars to own based on the results of the 2023 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, and neither did its SUV counterpart, the Model X. However, Tesla as a brand performed much better in the survey, and managed to finish third in our best car manufacturer rankings – behind Polestar and Porsche. Owners weren’t particularly pleased with their cars’ fit and finish or ride quality, but had plenty of praise when it came to performance, running costs, safety features and infotainment.

Warranty

All Teslas, including the Model S, are covered by a four-year/50,000-mile warranty, which is a reasonably long time but the mileage limit is less generous, especially if you plan to make full use of electric saloon’s huge range on lengthy journeys.

The Model S also comes with a battery and drive unit warranty lasting eight years or 150,000 miles (whichever comes first), with a minimum 70 per cent retention of battery capacity over the warranty period. It's transferable between owners, too, even if you never service the car. 

Servicing

When it comes to maintenance, Tesla simply says “your vehicle should generally be serviced on an as-needed basis”. But it does recommend you get the Model S’s brake fluid checked every two years, and the cabin air filter should be replaced after three years, among other small tasks.

You can schedule a service via the Tesla app and, at the time of writing, Tesla has 33 Service Centres in the UK.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

New 2024 Nissan Qashqai prices and specs announced as family SUV war heats up
Nissan Qashqai reveal - full front
News

New 2024 Nissan Qashqai prices and specs announced as family SUV war heats up

The start price for the Nissan Qashqai has increased by £3,000 due to the loss of the old entry-level Visia trim
24 May 2024
Car Deal of the Day: new VW Tiguan in well-equipped Match trim for under £300 a month
Volkswagen Tiguan - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: new VW Tiguan in well-equipped Match trim for under £300 a month

Volkswagen’s practical and refined mid-size SUV is our Deal of the Day for 24 May
24 May 2024
Suzuki Swift vs MG3 2024 twin test: bargain small car battle
MG3 and Suzuki Swift - front cornering
Car group tests

Suzuki Swift vs MG3 2024 twin test: bargain small car battle

The Ford Fiesta’s demise has left a yawning chasm in the supermini class. Can the new MG3 and Suzuki Swift fill it?
25 May 2024